The Natural Stuff Collection

Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections


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32105 viewsSome porcupine species have long spines for defence. They are modified hairs that release when something presses into them causing pain and often infection to the body of would be predators.
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33108 viewsThe sawfish (Pristis microdon) is a kind of freshwater shark like ray. There are similar with marine and freshwater species. It uses its modified snout with extended teeth to slice through shoals of fish. The species is now rare due to overfishing especially for its saw. In the past these impressive fish grew to over twenty feet in length with saws up to eight.
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34112 viewsBlue Morpho plate. The wings of Morpho butterflies are artistically arranged under glass.
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35109 viewsBlue morph butterfly wings in a tray from South America. Many species of Morpho butterfly were over collected during the fifties and sixties and are now rare in many parts of their range. They were so beautiful that they were made into all kinds of decorations.
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36104 viewsSouth American butterflies and weevil.
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37101 viewsAmber such as this often trapped invertebrates many thousands or millions of years ago. This is Baltic amber with two jumping spiders inside, (Salticidae) male and female of possibly the same species. They may have been about to mate. It is genuine because one can see the slow disintegration of the animals that happens over thousands of years, leaving a semi transparent shell of the victims, and fading colour. Also the position of the animals suggests that it were natural. The biggest clue is the fact that there are minute pollen stars from the oak tree, a feature that is common in most Baltic amber. There is a closer view of this piece along with others in the section minerals and fossils.
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38107 viewsSpecies of Nephila spiders are the largest orb web weaving spiders in the world and they are among the largest of spiders also. Nephila maculata here has a legs pan of over twenty centimetres. They are becoming rare or extinct in some regions of south East Asia as they are eaten by people.
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39107 viewsA North American scorpion set in resin. Millions of these were made after the nineteen fifties and many still survive. The practice is still done in the southern U.S.A and South America. Many people think that it is cool to buy such items and do not realise what they are doing.
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4097 viewsHorseshoe crabs of the family Limulidae, are ancient creatures, very primitive but not backward over wise they would not still be around. They are not crustaceans but are more related to arachnids.
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41101 viewsNautilus, are the only surviving marine cephalopods with an external shell. They are molluscs, and of a very ancient order. They are similar to the ammonites of Jurassic seas.
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42108 viewsThree small sea horses, dried. In the Far East and even the Mediterranean millions of sea horses used to be caught from wild and dried just to sell as tourist trinkets. Some of the old ones still remain today but there are now laws in regards to this sort of thing and it is illegal to import certain items into the country. The Orientals are still responsible for catching millions of them each year just to eat, putting many species at risk of extinction.
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43102 viewsSea horse and small shells in resin.
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